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Cal State LA and government, community partners open mobile vaccination clinic at Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA in Maywood

April 08, 2021

Cal State LA News Service

Wilma Franco, executive director for the SELA Collaborative, delivers remarks during the news conference
Photo: Wilma Franco, executive director for the SELA Collaborative, delivers remarks during the news conference marking the opening of the mobile vaccination clinic at the Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA on April 7. (Credit: Robert Huskey/Cal State LA)

Cal State LA and government and community partners opened a mobile vaccination clinic in Maywood this week, extending the university’s efforts to serve vulnerable populations hard hit by the pandemic.

A mobile vaccination clinic from the Vaccination Center at Cal State LA launched at the Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA on Wednesday, offering increased access to COVID-19 vaccines for neighborhoods in Southeast Los Angeles.

The clinic, which offers the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is open for appointments through Saturday, April 10. Community members can sign up online or call 323-588-2256 to register for an appointment.

“To me, this is boots on the ground,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said during an April 7 news conference marking the clinic’s opening. “It’s coming to where our most vulnerable individuals live. I can’t think of a more meaningful place to be than here at the Y.”

Since May 2020, low-income communities in Los Angeles County, including Southeast Los Angeles, have seen COVID-19 infection rates that are higher than those in wealthier neighborhoods, according to reports by Advancement Project California and the Los Angeles Times. Research from the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State LA conducted in spring 2020 also revealed severe impacts of the pandemic on the region. And, more recently, vaccine distribution for Black and Latino residents in Los Angeles has been found to lag behind that of whites and Asian Americans.

“This [mobile clinic] is what we have all been advocating for—so that our region does not continue to be at the back of the line,” said Wilma Franco, executive director for the SELA Collaborative, a network of organizations that includes Cal State LA and aims to strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit sector and increase civic engagement in the southeast area.

Local, state and federal representatives joined Solis, whose First District includes Cal State LA, and Franco in praising the new clinic during the news conference at the Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA.

“Too often, communities like ours have had to scratch for access to health care services, so I am glad that we were able to make this happen,” said California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, whose district includes Maywood.

The mobile vaccination clinic in Maywood is one of three based out of the Vaccination Center at Cal State LA, which is operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The others are stationed at Paradise Baptist Church in South Los Angeles and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza through April 10. The goal of the mobile vaccination clinics is to increase the distribution of vaccines to underserved or hard-to-reach areas in surrounding communities.

Since it opened on Feb. 16, the Vaccination Center at Cal State LA has delivered more than 300,000 vaccinations through its walk-up, drive-thru and mobile vaccination clinics. The center was one of the first state and federal community vaccination centers in the Biden administration’s effort to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine distribution across the country. This month, the site will transition to a city-run vaccination site.

“All of us are here today because we understand how critical our mobile units are in ensuring that the most vulnerable in our communities have equitable access to the vaccine,” Cal State LA Associate Vice President for Operations and Chief Mission Officer Belen Vargas said during the news conference.

Cal State LA’s participation in the COVID-19 vaccination effort is part of the university’s We Are Healthy LA initiative, a collaboration with government and community partners to provide basic needs and help ensure health and safety during the pandemic.

Under the initiative, Cal State LA has worked with federal, state and local governments and organizations including the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, QueensCare Health Centers, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the Southeast Los Angeles Collaborative to provide influenza vaccinations and distribute more than 120 tons of food to approximately 5,000 families in the Los Angeles area.

“As you can see from all of the speakers today and everyone here,” Vargas said, “it is powerful what we can do when we partner together.”

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 26,000 students and has more than 250,000 distinguished alumni.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit